The number of fund raisers attending the annual meeting of the Association of Fundraising Professionals has dropped by about 20 percent from 2008 — a drop that organizers attribute to the recession.
About 3,200 people registered to attend the 2009 conference in New Orleans — down from a record 4,500 participants at the 2008 conference in San Diego.
Many fund raisers are staying home this year because of budget cuts at their organizations, said John Skendall, a spokesman for the fund raisers’ association.
Paulette Maehara, president of the association, said in an interview today that some of the decline is the result of the fact that the conference is in New Orleans — a destination that is still causing trepidation for some potential attendees following Hurricane Katrina.
She said that the biggest number of fund raisers this year come from social-service groups, many of which have started focusing on private fund raising as their government aid has been reduced and demand has been soaring. She said usually education and health-care fund raisers account for the biggest share of participants.
The conference is also drawing a large number of first-time participants. About half of those who registered have never previously attended the national conference, Ms. Maehara said.